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U.S. Men Begin Semifinal Round of 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Wed., Aug. 20 at Guatemala


SEMIFINAL SHOW ON THE ROAD: The journey to the 2010 FIFA World Cup resumes on Aug. 20 when the U.S. takes on Guatemala on MatchDay 1 of Semifinal Round qualifying for South Africa. Kickoff at the Estadio Mateo Flores is set for 8 p.m. MT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The team traveled from Miami to Guatemala City on Monday afternoon where they were met by team captain Carlos Bocanegra and Maurice Edu. The U.S. will train in the stadium Tuesday evening, just over 24 hours from kickoff.

QUICK HITS

  • Eighteen players are eligible to dress for both teams, and must wear 1-18 for jersey numbers.
  • Oguchi Onyewu is the only U.S. player carrying a caution into this match. Any player accumulating two cautions will be suspended for the next FIFA World Cup qualifier.
  • The U.S. has never lost to Guatemala in World Cup qualifying play. With an unblemished 4-0-4 record, the USA’s victories have all come on U.S. soil.
  • The United States is 1-4-4 all-time in Guatemala. The lone victory came Jan. 13, 1988, a 1-0 win courtesy of a goal by Jeff Agoos.
  • Four players on the current roster appeared in the last World Cup qualifier against Guatemala, a 0-0 draw on Sept. 7, 2005 in Guatemala City: Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Pablo Mastroeni (c) [starters in bold]. The match came four days after the U.S. clinched a place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup with a 2-0 win against Mexico.
  • Frankie Hejduk and Eddie Lewis have also seen action in Guatemala, both part of the squad that earned a 1-1 draw on July 16, 2000, in Mazatenango in the opening match of the semifinal round of the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
  • Three players on the roster have tallied goals against Guatemala. Johnson has a pair, including the game-winning goal in the 2-0 victory on March 30, 2005, in the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Dempsey put away the lone goal in the 1-0 win in the first match of group play in the 2007 Gold Cup, launching the USA’s run to their second-consecutive regional title. Brian Ching scored the second of four goals in the 4-0 friendly on Feb. 19, 2006 in Frisco, Texas.
  • Donovan leads the team in World Cup qualifying caps (21), and is tied with Johnson for most goals in qualifying (8). Johnson has produced a remarkable strike rate, with eight goals in eight qualifying appearances. Johnson became the first player in U.S. history to score three goals as a substitute when he recorded a hat trick in the 6-0 semifinal round qualifying victory against Panama on Oct. 13, 2004, at RFK Stadium.
  • Johnson and Donovan are tied for third on the USA’s all-time goalscoring list in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Brian McBride is the USA’s all-time leading goalscorer in World Cup Qualifying with 10 goals scored over three World Cup cycles (1998, 2002, 2006)
  • Michael Bradley leads the U.S. in 2008 in minutes played (557).
  • All 18 players were part of the roster that handed Barbados an 8-0 defeat in the first leg of Second Round qualifying on June 15 at The Home Depot Center. Additionally, all six of the USA’s goalscorers in the Barbados series – Michael Bradley, Ching (2), Dempsey (2), Donovan, Johnson and Lewis - will be on hand.
  • The U.S. collected a 12-2-4 record in the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, outscoring their opponents 35-11 while collecting 11 shutouts. The U.S. finished undefeated at home during the qualifying campaign, going 8-0-1, with all eight victories coming by shutout.
  • The U.S. has posted a 4-2-2 record in 2008, which includes the pair of victories against Barbados in the second round of FIFA World Cup qualifying, a road win against Poland and a 0-0 draw against No. 1-ranked Argentina. Overall, the U.S. has scored 16 goals while surrendering five.
  • Leagues from seven different countries are represented on the U.S. roster, with England and the United States each contributing six players. Others include: Belgium, France, Germany (2), Holland and Scotland.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 2/2 SO), Tim Howard (Everton FC: 3/2 SO)
DEFENDERS (6): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 13/1), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96: 15/0), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC: 1/0), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew: 11/1), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege: 8/0), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock: 2/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers: 16/4), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen: 2/1), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC: 1/0), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA: 1/0), Eddie Lewis (Derby County: 19/3), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids: 10/0)
FORWARDS (4): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 7/4), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 21/8), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC: 8/2), Eddie Johnson (Fulham FC: 8/8)
*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals

IN QUALIFYING FOR THE U.S.: Overall, the U.S. holds a 48-30-28 lifetime record in FIFA World Cup qualifying play, posting a 35-9-16 mark since 1990. In the last three qualifying cycles, the U.S. boasts an impressive 26-1-6 record on home soil.

MLS CONNECTIONS: In addition to the six MLS players on the U.S. roster, there are several Guatemalan connections to the USA’s top-flight league. Carlos Ruiz and Landon Donovan share the same locker room at the Los Angeles Galaxy, while midfielder Guillermo ‘Pando’ Ramirez also used to ply his trade at The Home Depot Center. Marco ‘Loco’ Rodriguez and Fredy Garcia once wore the same uniform as Frankie Hejduk in Columbus. Gustavo Cabrera left Real Salt Lake for AGF Aarhus in Denmark, the club that just signed U.S. Olympic Team midfielder Benny Feilhaber. Finally, 20-year old uncapped midfielder Marco Pappa recently moved to the Chicago Fire, where he has assumed a starting role as a wide midfielder.

BOB ON THE JOB: Since January of 2007 it has been the charge of U.S. head coach Bob Bradley to achieve the most important goal of any soccer playing nation: qualification for the FIFA World Cup. With 26 games under his belt and the process of reaching South Africa in 2010 in full swing, a review of the body of work during the past 20 months points to the U.S. clearly heading in the right direction. Since the start of the four-year cycle, the U.S. has:

  • Compiled a 16-7-3 record, with 47 goals scored and 25 against
  • Defended the CONCACAF Gold Cup title and qualified for the 2009 Confederations Cup
  • Won by the largest margin of victory in U.S. World Cup qualifying history (8-0 vs. Barbados on 6/15/08)
  • Won back-to-back games in Europe for the first time in team history
  • Won three straight matches on the road for the first time in team history
  • Played five matches against four teams ranked in the Top 10 in the world at the time they stepped on the field against them (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Spain)
  • Played matches on four continents and in two major international tournaments
  • Used 67 different players

OLYMPIANS ON BOARD: It was a long flight home and a short stop in the States for several members of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Soccer Team as four players were quickly recalled by Bob Bradley for the crucial first step in the semifinal phase of qualifying. Newly transferred Aston Villa ‘keeper Brad Guzan is coming off an outstanding performance at the 2008 Olympic Games, earning Sierra Mist Man of the Match in the gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to Nigeria that eliminated the squad from the tournament. Guzan posted clean sheets in both of the USA’s second round qualifying victories against Barbados. Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan recorded two goals in China, while Maurice Edu served admirably in central defense. Since the summer of 2007, midfielder Michael Bradley has appeared in four international tournaments at both the youth and full national team levels. At the same time, U.S. Olympic head coach Peter Nowak resumes his duties with the full team as Bob Bradley’s lead assistant.

PODCAST – FREQUENT FLIER MILES ANYONE? Former Chivas USA teammates Brad Guzan and Sacha Kljestan are still getting their body clocks adjusted from China. Guzan chilled in Chicago for a few days before heading to Miami, while Kljestan got a few days in Huntington Beach before flying coast to coast. Still resting but reflective, the pair sat down to talk with ussoccer.com about their Olympic experiences , and making the quick but important transition to focusing on the full team. Meantime, the frequent flier award must go to Maurice Edu, who flew from Beijing to Toronto last Thursday, then left two days later for Glasgow, Scotland, and will fly today to meet the team in Guatemala City.

2004 SEMIFINAL ROUND REWIND: After handling Grenada in the home and home series in the second round, the U.S. advanced to Group 1 of the semifinal phase along with El Salvador, Panama and Jamaica. Like this time around, the U.S. opened on the road when they traveled to Kingston, Jamaica. An 89th minute goal from World Cup qualifying debutante Brian Ching delivered the U.S. the sought after points away from home in the 1-1 draw with Jamaica. The ever-reliable Cobi Jones would later follow suit, netting a 92nd minute equalizer against Panama to deliver yet another important draw. At home it was a different story, as a convincing shutout against El Salvador (2-0) set the stage for a record-setting performance from Eddie Johnson in the 6-0 pasting of Panama on Oct. 13, 2004, at RFK Stadium. Johnson became the first U.S. player in history to record a hat trick as a substitute. In that match, Oguchi Onyewu earned his first taste of qualifying action. Overall, the U.S. finished the group with an unbeaten 3-0-3 record and momentum heading into the final phase.

UP NEXT: Following the Guatemala match, it’s a quick turnaround before the first double-date of the semifinal round. The U.S. will first make an historic visit to Cuba on Sept. 6, making their first appearance on the island since 1947. Four days later, the U.S. welcomes Trinidad & Tobago to Chicago for the team’s debut in Bridgeview, Ill. (tickets)

U.S. Schedule – Semifinal Round, 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying

Aug. 20 @ Guatemala Guatemala City, Guatemala 
Sept. 6 @ Cuba Havana, Cuba 
Sept. 10 vs. Trinidad & Tobago Bridgeview, Ill.
Oct. 11 vs. Cuba Washington, D.C.
Oct. 15 @ Trinidad & Tobago Port-of-Spain, Trinidad 
Nov. 19 vs. Guatemala Commerce City, Colo.

The U.S. has only faced Cuba once before in World Cup qualifying, dating back to a two-game series in 1949 that was played in Mexico City, Mexico. The U.S. tied Cuba, 1-1, in their first meeting and then won, 5-2, during a three-team group that also included Mexico. Overall, the U.S. holds a 5-1-1 record against Cuba with 21 goals for and nine goals against.

The U.S. also has an undefeated record in qualifying against Trinidad & Tobago, holding an 8-0-2 record. The two countries last met during qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, with the U.S. winning both matches. The first meeting was the opening match of the Final Round and the U.S. got goals from Eddie Johnson and Eddie Lewis for a 2-1 victory in Port of Spain, Trinidad. In the second match, Brian McBride tallied the lone goal in a 1-0 victory in East Hartford, Conn.

DONOVAN JOINED THE CENTURY CLUB: With his start on June 8 in the 0-0 draw against Argentina, Donovan added another remarkable statistic to his already impressive international résumé by becoming the fourth youngest male player of all-time to earn 100 caps. Only 10 other U.S. players have achieved that mark, with Kasey Keller being the most recent player to reach 100 appearances when he minded the net during last year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal victory against Canada. Cobi Jones remains the USA’s all-time capwinner with 164 appearances – still good for fourth most in the world - while Marcelo Balboa holds the distinction of becoming the first U.S. player, either male or female, to join the century club.

Youngest 100 Cap Winners
Name Nationality Birthdate 100th Cap
1. Cha Bum-Kun South Korea 5/22/1953 10/9/1977
2. Sami Al-Jaber Saudi Arabia 12/11/1972 5/27/1998
3. Mohammed Al-Khilaiwi Saudi Arabia 5/24/1971 9/27/1998
4. Landon Donovan USA 3/4/1982 6/6/2008
5. Cobi Jones USA 6/16/1970 2/10/1998
 
U.S. 100 Cap Winners
Name Caps Goals (SO) Era
1. Cobi Jones 164 15 1992-2004
2. Jeff Agoos 134 4 1988-2003
3. Marcelo Balboa 128 13 1988-2000
4. Claudio Reyna 112 8 1994-2006
5. Paul Caligiuri 110 5 1984-1998
6. Eric Wynalda 106 34 1990-2000
7. Kasey Keller 102 (47) 1990-
8. Landon Donovan 101 36 2000-
9. Earnie Stewart 101 17 1990-2004
10. Tony Meola 100 (32) 1988-2006
11. Joe-Max Moore 100 24 1992-2002
  
BE OFFICIAL: Aren't sure the spouse will let you take that last-minute trip down to Guatemala for the qualifying game on Wednesday? While we'd rather see you on site cheering the MNT on, we know that's not going to be the case every game. But, we still want you to be a part of the U.S. Soccer experience so we've got the next best spot - an Official U.S. Soccer Bar. While you might not be in the stadium, you can still support the team with loads of your fellow supporters and watch the game in an atmosphere that is pretty loud and rowdy. Check the latest listings for the Official U.S. Soccre bar in your area.

MATCH MEMORIES: U.S. Soccer is now providing fans with the opportunity to capture, collect and share their unique U.S. National Team game experiences. Through a partnership with Panraven, fans can take photos and videos from U.S. National Team games and create online and hardbound scrap books that can be shared with family and friends. The free service allows you to customize and create a rich multimedia journal to display and preserve all your favorite U.S. Soccer memories. Check it out here.

IN FOCUS: GUATEMALA

GUATEMALA FACT FILE
Federación Nacional de Fútbol de Guatemala
Founded: 1919 (Joined FIFA in 1946)
Head Coach: Ramon Maradiaga (HON)
Best World Cup Finish: Never qualified in 11 attempts
Best CONCACAF Gold Cup Finish: 4th place, 1996
Caps Leader: Victor Hugo Monzon (103)
Top Scorer: Carlos Ruiz (39)
Key Players: Carlos Ruiz, Dwight Pezzarossi, Mario Rodriguez

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Guatemala secured passage to the semifinal stage of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying by virtue of a 9-1 aggregate victory against St. Lucia. In the first leg, Guatemala defeated their opponents comprehensively, smashing six goals past a St. Lucian defense in Guatemala City. Forward Carlos Ruiz tallied four goals, while the Guatemalan defense was rarely troubled in the 6-0 victory. In the return leg, St. Lucia kept the score closer, but Guatemala's qualification was already all but assured. In a match played at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, two goals from Gonzalo Romero and one from Abner Trigueros spurred the Guatemalans to a 3-1 win.

June 14, 2008 – Estadio Mateo Flores, Guatemala City
Guatemala  6         Rodriguez (5), Ruiz (36, 40, 58, 90), Trigueros (90)
St. Lucia       0

GUA: 1-Ricardo Trigueno, 2- Carlos Gallardo, 3- Cristian Noriega, 4-Yoni Flores, 5-Fredy Thompson (17-Dwight Pezzarossi, 74), 6-Gustavo Cabrera, 7- Marco Rodriguez, 8- Jose Contreras (12-Contreras, 64), 9-Carlos Ruiz, 10-Fredy Garcia (16- Abner Trigueros, 75), 11-Guillermo Ramirez

June 21, 2008 – Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles
St. Lucia       1
Guatemala  3       Romero (24, 43), Trigueros (86)

GUA: 1-Luis Molina, 2-Carlos Castrillo, 3-Luis Rodriguez, 4-Yony Flores (17-Wilson Lalin, 46), 7-Mario Rodriguez, 8-Gonzalo Romero (5-Jean Marques Marquez 73) , 9-Carlos Ruiz, 11-Guillermo Ramirez, 12-Trigueros, 14-Rigoberto Gomez (13-Carlos Castillo, 61), 16-Jaime Vides

IN ’06: Guatemala progressed to the CONCACAF Final Round during qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, ultimately finishing with 11 points - two points behind eventual World Cup finalists Trinidad & Tobago. In the two games against the United States, Guatemala only managed one point, a draw on Sept. 7, 2005, in Guatemala City. In Birmingham, Ala. earlier in the year, the U.S. beat the Central American visitors courtesy of goals by Steve Ralston and Eddie Johnson.

VS. THE U.S.: The U.S. is 10-4-5 lifetime against Guatemala and is currently riding a six-match shutout streak against the Chapines. The teams have met eight times overall in World Cup qualifying play, with the U.S. holding an unbeaten 4-0-4 mark in the series. Guatemala's most recent game with Bob Bradley's team came just over a year ago in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup. In the opening match of a tricky Group B, Clint Dempsey scored the lone goal on an assist from Taylor Twellman and the U.S. held on for a 1-0 victory at The Home Depot Center. Despite an Oguchi Onyewu red card, a solid backline of Frankie Hejduk, Carlos Bocanegra and Jonathan Bornstein maintained a clean sheet over the course of 90 minutes.

Since that game, Guatemala has changed coaches - Hernan Dario Gomez is out and the Honduran Ramon Maradiaga has subsequently been given the reigns to the country's World Cup qualification efforts. A comprehensive 3-0 victory against Bolivia earlier in the month showcased some of the positive strides Maradiaga has been making, and the visit of the U.S. team to Guatemala City will be a big benchmark by which to judge his progress.

IN OTHER ACTION: There’s a full slate of games scheduled in CONCACAF on Wednesday for Match Day 1 of the semifinal round. In the other Group A matchup, Trinidad & Tobago head to Havana to take on Cuba. In the difficult Group B, Honduras faces a tough opener in the rarified air of Mexico City, while Canada meets Jamaica. In Group C, Costa Rica will host El Salvador, and Haiti will host Suriname.

LAST TIME…

On the field for the USA

June 22, 2008 - Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados - CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying - 2nd Round, 2nd Leg
USA             1      Eddie Lewis 21'
Barbados   0

USA: 18-Brad Guzan; 6-Drew Moor, 15-Jay DeMerit, 2-Danny Califf, 11-Heath Pearce; 10-Sacha Kljestan, 12-Michael Bradley, 8-Danny Szetela (14-Chris Rolfe, 66), 7-Eddie Lewis (capt.); 16-Freddy Adu (13-Chad Barrett, 86), 17-DaMarcus Beasley (12-John Thorrington, 79)
Subs not used: 1-Chris Seitz, 3-Carlos Bocanegra, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 9-Brek Shea
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

BRB: 1-Alvin Rouse, 5-Bryan Neblett, 6-Jonathan Straker, 7-Paul Ifill (capt.), 9-Marc McCammon, 11-Jonathan Nurse (12-Malcolm Marshall, 81), 13-Riviere Williams (8-Rondell Vaughan, 68), 14-Ramuel Miller, 15-Emerson Boyce, 16-Barry Skeete, 17-John Parris
Subs not used: 18-Adrian Chase, 2-Dyson James, 3-Daryl Ferguson, 4-Gregg Belle, 10-Arantes Lawrence
Head Coach: Eyre Sealy

On the field for Guatemala

August 6, 2008 - RFK Stadium, Washington D.C. - International Friendly
Guatemala   3       Dwight Pezzarossi 52', Guillermo Ramirez 57', Mario Rodriguez 65'
Bolivia           0

GUA: Luis Pedro Molina (Ricardo Trigueño Foster, 45); Carlos Castrillo (Jaime Vides 52), Yony Wilson Flores, Luis Ricardo Rodríguez, Carlos Gallardo; Fredy Williams Thompson (Cristian Noriega 85), Guillermo Ramírez Ortega (Mynor Morales, 78); Mario Rafael Rodríguez, Gonzalo Romero (Jean Jonathan Márquez 69'), Fredy Alexander García (Abner Isaí Trigueros, 45); Dwight Pezzarossi
Head Coach: Ramon Maradiaga

Vs. Guatemala

June 7, 2007 - The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif. – 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Group B
USA               1       Clint Dempsey 26'
Guatemala   0

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2- Frankie Hejduk, 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 13-Jonathan Bornstein; 6-Michael Bradley, 5-Benny Feilhaber (12-Jay DeMerit, 81), 10-Landon Donovan, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 20-Taylor Twellman (14-Steve Ralston, 71), 8-Clint Dempsey (9-Eddie Johnson, 61)
Subs not used: 4-Jonathan Spector, 11-Brian Ching, 18-Kasey Keller, 19-Ricardo Clark
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

GUA: 1-Ricardo Tregueno, 2-Leonel Noriega (15-Luis Swisher, 89), 3-Pablo Melgar, 5-Henry Medina, 6-Gustavo Cabrera (capt.), 7-Claudio Albizuris; 8-Jose Contreras, 11-Marvin Avila (12-Carlos Figueroa, 81), 14-Rigoberto Gomez (19-Mario Rodriguez, 71), 18-Carlos Quinones, 20-Carlos Ruiz
Subs not used: 4-Yony Flores, 13-Nestor Martinez, 17-Dwight Pezzarossi, 25-Paulo Cesar Motta
Head Coach: Hernan Dario Gomez

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